CBC Radio's The House: June 27, 2020

On this week’s show — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on COVID-19, Canadians detained in China and NAFTA 2.0. Plus, a privacy expert on whether Canada’s federally backed contact-tracing app should be made mandatory, a panel discussion on how the RCMP should respond to growing demands for accountability and justice and a look back to a past story on a national monument in Ottawa honouring LGBT Canadians.

Here is what’s on this week’s episode of The House

COVID Alert, the contact tracing app backed by the federal government, will be available for Ontario residents to download next week. But much of its success will depend on how many people use it — particularly when it rolls out in other provinces. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

Canada's Deputy Prime Minister: COVID-19, Canadians in China, NAFTA 2.0

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canadian companies need to shift critical supply lines home from overseas as the world prepares for a second wave of COVID-19.

"I think that one of the consequences of coronavirus is going to mean, for the economy, a shift from a sort of just-in-time, get-the-very-cheapest-input-possible model, to a model that puts a greater emphasis on resilience, puts a greater emphasis on supply chains that are closer to home," Freeland said in an interview airing Saturday on the CBC Radio's ​The House.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland talks COVID-19, Canadians detained in China and NAFTA 2.0.

Enforcing the race to trace?

Next week, Ontario will be the testing ground for "COVID Alert", a new nationwide contact-tracing app intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. The app is voluntary, meaning politicians and public health experts will need to convince Canadians to use it.

Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, said that while a higher number of users might make the app more effective, making the tool mandatory could unleash a host of other consequences.

One of those concerns, Scassa told The House, is the fallout from enforcing the use of the app at a time when trust in technology and policing is declining.

Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, discusses whether Canada’s upcoming nationwide contact-tracing app should be made mandatory.

Reckoning and reform for the RCMP

Demands for accountability, justice and reform of the RCMP grew louder this week as the Mounties faced scrutiny over a string of recent incidents — the violent arrest of an Indigenous chief in northern Alberta, a "wellness check" gone horribly wrong in British Columbia and the shooting death of an Indigenous man in New Brunswick.

In an interview with The House, Christa Big Canoe — the legal advocacy director of Aboriginal Legal Services and legal counsel for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls — didn't call for the RCMP to be disbanded, but said there is ample evidence to support a "serious conversation about defunding."

Anti-racism protestors block a street in Vancouver on June 15, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

In the same interview, Liberal MP Pam Damoff, who serves as parliamentary secretary to Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, also acknowledged that there have been studies and recommendations that Ottawa has not acted upon.

What makes her hopeful, she said, is that recent demands for change aren't coming just from those directly affected by what she called "racist policing," but rather from a wider range of people from across the country.

Lawyer Christa Big Canoe and Liberal MP Pam Damoff talk about what is next for the RCMP amid calls for reform following a string of violent incidents and an admission of systemic racism within the force.

How Ottawa's newest national monument will honour LGBT Canadians

As Pride Month comes to a close, The House goes back to a January interview about the National Capital Commission's approval of a central Ottawa site for a new monument to honour LGBT Canadians.

In particular, the monument will memorialize the "LGBT purge", a period several decades long during which public servants and members of the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces faced discrimination due to their sexual orientation.

Michelle Douglas, executive director of the LGBT Purge Fund, joined host Chris Hall last winter on the site of the future monument to share her own story about this dark chapter in Canadian history.

The National Capital Commission has approved a site for a national monument to members of the LGBT community who for decades were ousted from the federal public service because of their sexual orientation. The House met Michelle Douglas, the executive director of the LGBT Purge Fund, at the proposed site.